2021 NBA Draft: Mock 1.0, Knicks bolster the backcourt

Jalen Suggs, NY Knicks, NBA Draft (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Jalen Suggs, NY Knicks, NBA Draft (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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NBA Draft
Brandon Boston Jr. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

NBA Draft Mock 1.0: NY goes for high ceiling

21. New York Knicks (from Dallas), Brandon “B.J.” Boston, F, Kentucky

One thing I can almost guarantee: Leon Rose is going to select at least one Kentucky guy in every draft for the foreseeable future. It won’t matter if he has to reach for them, trade up, down, whatever — Rose is a former Creative Arts Agency agent with exceedingly close ties to John Calipari and the University of Basketball men’s basketball program and has implicitly made clear that he is trying to replicate the culture of that program with the Knicks.

Brandon Boston Jr. will be a project. He went into this year’s college basketball season seen as a potential top 5 pick, but poor individual and team play has put him in later range. On this year’s 9-16 Kentucky team, Boston averaged 11.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.3 steals on 36 percent shooting and 30 percent from 3.

Boston does have all the tools and at his best could be a Jayson Tatum/Brandon Ingram type all-star. Given how poorly his college season went, though, this would be a risky selection given the immediate need at wing. Leon Rose took that paid off with Immanuel Quickley, and he may feel that he can double his luck and create a dynamic tandem for The NY Knicks.

22. Denver Nuggets, Johnny Juzang, G, UCLA

I struggled to figure out where exactly to put 2021 NCAA tournament superstar Johnny Juzang in this mock draft. Some see him as a lottery pick while others still believe he is a second-rounder; all the while Juzang may forgo this year’s NBA draft entirely and return for another season at UCLA.

I’m sort of splitting the difference and giving him to the Nuggets here. Juzang is the kind of player the Nuggets really seem to value — a creative scoring guard with lights out shooting and off-ball versatility. Like Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr, Juzang is a walking bucket who could thrive in Denver’s Nikola Jokic centric offense.

23. Houston Rockets (from Portland), Kai Jones, Texas, C

Jones is the kind of prospect the Rockets can be patient with. He is quite raw, and his stats through two years at Texas are not overly impressive, but Jones is highly athletic and flashes some multi-faceted skills on offense and defense. He reminds one of a player like Myles Turner, another Texas alumnus.

24. Houston Rockets (from Bucks), Daishen Nix, G League Ignite, PG

Nix was the floor general of the G League Ignite, handling the ball ahead of lottery picks Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga.

Nix’s basketball IQ and playmaking polish are potentially elite and he could be a 10 assist a night guy in his prime. His shooting numbers, however, were quite poor at 18% from 3 and 38% overall, and this must improve dramatically if he has to stick around in the league.